Duke vs Florida State

Duke vs Florida State Live: The 2019 ACC Tournament championship will be decided Saturday night when the Duke Blue Devils face the Florida State Seminoles at 8:30 p.m. ET in Charlotte, N.C. The Blue Devils will be aiming to win their second title in three seasons, while the Seminoles seek their first crown since 2012.

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ACC Tournament Information
FSU vs Duke Basketball Game
Date: Saturday, March 16
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN

The stage is set for the championship game of the 2019 ACC Tournament after an intense nightcap between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. The Florida State Seminoles punched their ticket to the conference championship game earlier in the day with an impressive 69-59 win over the Virginia Cavaliers. In turn, it sets up an intriguing rematch from the regular season with Duke.

The Blue Devils held off the Tar Heels 74-73, getting some revenge after falling twice to their biggest rival during the regular season. Obviously, both of those games were without freshman phenom Zion Williamson, but the two teams gave us a matchup for the ages on Friday night.

The Seminoles return to the ACC title game for the first time since 2012 and are fresh off a season in which they posted a 27-6 record. Equally as impressive is the fact that FSU went 13-5 in conference play, but they were nearly eliminated one day prior against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

During the 65-63 win in the quarterfinals, Florida State advanced thanks to a wild game-winning shot in overtime by Terance Mann. Regardless, they’ve completed the run and now have a chance to win their first conference championship since the aforementioned 2012 season.

On the other side, it was a hard-fought game against UNC which led to Duke advancing. Zion and company went back-and-forth with their rival before Coby White’s game-winner attempt clanked off late. The return of Williamson from injury has been crucial for the Blue Devils, and he’s posted back-to-back huge performances to start the tournament.

Florida State and Duke met once during the regular season and it was played in Tallahassee. The Blue Devils were 7.5-point favorites but left town with a narrow 80-78 win which they picked up while Williamson was sidelined for the second half due to double vision. He was poked in the eye during the opening half of action, so played just 17 minutes, but FSU still held a 39-38 lead at halftime.

RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish led the way in that game as the freshman duo combined for 55 points. Barrett shot 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc while Reddish caught fire going 9-of-15 and 5-of-8 from deep.

On the other side, Mfiondu Kabengele was a force for FSU off the bench, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. Phil Cofer also totaled 21 points with seven rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting and 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish led the way in that game as the freshman duo combined for 55 points. Barrett shot 10-of-19 from the field and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc while Reddish caught fire going 9-of-15 and 5-of-8 from deep.

On the other side, Mfiondu Kabengele was a force for FSU off the bench, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. Phil Cofer also totaled 21 points with seven rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting and 5-of-8 from 3-point range.

Florida State is built far different than Duke, as they are one of the most well-rounded teams in the ACC. In their tournament-opening win over Virginia Tech, the Seminoles had 10 players score and eight players log double-digit minutes. They have a deep bench and entered the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 14 of their final 15 games.

Although FSU is bound to be all-in on getting revenge and taking home the title, I’m rolling with the Blue Devils to keep their run going behind Zion and Barrett. Three games in three days for a team who plays a short bench is a tall task, but I’m backing Coach K’s squad to get it done.

Duke vs UNC

Duke vs UNC Live: The third time Duke and North Carolina have faced off this season, but things could be drastically different in Round 3, all thanks to one player. College basketball’s most intense rivalry gets an ACC tournament re-installment for the third consecutive year, as No. 2 seed North Carolina takes on No. 3 Duke in the second semifinal on Friday night.

Zion Williamson will return for just his second game after a blown-out shoe against UNC on Feb. 21 caused him to miss five games. Without Zion in Duke’s lineup, UNC swept the Blue Devils during the regular season, outscoring the them by 25 points.

ACC Tournament 2-seed UNC (27-5) made easy work of Louisville in its first game of the tournament on Thursday, defeating the Cardinals 83-70. Luke Maye led all scorers with 19 points while Coby White chipped in 17. With the win, the Tar Heels pushed their win streak to eight games.

Williamson was impeccable in his return to the floor for Duke (27-5) against Syracuse on Thursday. The freshman was a perfect 13 of 13 from the floor for 29 points with 14 rebounds, five steals and countless highlight dunks, leading the Blue Devils to an 84-72 win. Even with his return, though, Duke likely won’t be at full strength: Marques Bolden is expected to miss his second game with an injury suffered in the regular season finale at UNC.

North Carolina leads the all-time series, 139-111. The two teams have met as ranked teams a total of 71 times, with the Tar Heels only holding a three-game advantage over Duke (37-34). Over the last 181 games, UNC has outscored the Blue Devils by just 38 points (13,748-13,701), a difference of 0.26 points per game.

UNC won the first two meetings against their heated in-state rivals this year, but those matchups lacked a certain tank with pogo-sticks for legs.

Zion Williamson–you may have heard of him–tore through his shoe and sprained his right knee within the first 30 seconds of the first Duke-UNC matchup and ultimately missed six games. Duke went just 3-3 in those contests, losing twice to Carolina, once to Virginia Tech and narrowly escaping a game at home against a Wake Forest team they had beaten by 22 earlier in the year.

On the year, Duke has an offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) of 113.8 and a defensive efficiency of 91.5. In those six games without Zion, those numbers dropped to 101.1 and 98.6, respectively.

So, yeah, it turns out the Blue Devils missed one of the most dominant college basketball players of the last decade.

He finished with one of the most absurd stat lines of the season, even when you don’t account for the fact he hadn’t played an actual game in nearly a month: 13-of-13 from the field (and 2-of-9 from the free-throw line), 29 points, 14 rebounds (seven offensive), two assists, five steals and one block.

“I’ve been in this game over 50 years, I’ve seen a lot of great players. I’m not going to say he’s better than them, but he’s a different player. There’s no one really like him,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said after the game.

All that said, UNC won those first two games for a reason. Zion’s absence obviously played a part, but the Heels have also been playing lights out during the last month. Since a 69-61 loss to Virginia on February 11, Carolina has won eight straight. They were pushed to the wire at Clemson, but every other one of those wins has been by at least eight points, and the average margin of victory during that stretch has been 14.63.

That includes a 13-point win over Louisville–the only other team besides Virginia to beat the Heels in ACC play–in the quarterfinals. Coby White and Luke Maye each chipped in 19 points in that one, while Cam Johnson and Garrison Brooks each tallied double-figures.

“They are as fast as any team I’ve coached against,” Louisville head coach Chris Mack said about UNC. “And you talk about it, you talk about it, but talking doesn’t prepare you sometimes. And you give those guys credit, they were shot out of a cannon, that ball was up the floor and in such a hurry and got to the rim.”

There’s a very real chance that this matchup could be for a No. 1 seed. UNC may still get one if they lose, while the Blue Devils–currently projected as a 2–need to win to have a shot of that top line.

For what it’s worth, the last single-season three-game sweep in this rivalry came in 2002, with Duke easily winning all three.

Duke vs North Carolina

Duke vs North Carolina Live: Act III of North Carolina vs. Duke takes place Friday, and a key piece is back in the equation for the Blue Devils. Zion Williamson, Duke’s star forward, will face the Tar Heels in the semifinals of the 2019 ACC Tournament after missing virtually all of the first two games between the teams.

Williamson famously blew out a shoe and suffered a mild knee sprain in the process, forcing him out of that contest as well as the next five. North Carolina beat a Zion-less Duke squad that night and in the regular-season finale. But Williamson returned with an emphatic performance on Thursday, scoring 29 points on 13-of-13 shooting in a victory against Syracuse.

Tipoff between North Carolina (27-5) and Duke (27-5) at Spectrum Center in Charlotte is set for 9 p.m. ET. The Blue Devils are favored by 3.5 points in the latest Duke vs. North Carolina odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 165. Before making any Duke vs. UNC picks of your own, be sure to see the 2019 ACC Tournament predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.

This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $4,000 to $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks. It also entered conference championship week on a strong 11-5 run on all top-rated college basketball picks. Anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now the model has honed in on Duke vs. North Carolina. We can tell you it is leaning under, and it has also locked in an against-the-spread pick that cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations. That one is only available at SportsLine.

For Friday’s game, the model has factored in Williamson’s return. The presumed No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson is averaging 21.9 points (second on the team behind RJ Barrett’s 23.3) while leading the team in rebounding (9.0) and shooting 69.6 percent from the field. Three of Duke’s five losses came with Williamson out.

After missing the past five games due to a knee injury he suffered while blowing out his shoe against UNC on Feb. 20, many in the media believed Williamson shouldn’t play another college game.

Williamson didn’t miss a beat from his time off, scoring 29 points on a perfect 13-of-13 shooting from the field, to go along with 14 rebounds, five steals and five dunks.

Williamson tied UNC’s Brad Daugherty for the most consecutive makes in a game by an ACC player, and also became the first Duke player with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five steals in a game since Christian Laettner did it in 1992 against UNC in the ACC tournament.

“The shoes were incredible tonight,” Williamson said with a smile. “I just know they’re a little stronger than the regular Kyrie 4’s, so I want to thank Nike for making these, but they felt very comfortable.”

Williamson will finally be a part of what is considered to be the best rivalry in college basketball with UNC. He only got to experience 36 seconds of the first meeting before the mishap with his shoe.